"Sex Offenders in School": Part 2

By: Associated Press and WTVY
By: Associated Press and WTVY

It's a startling reality - more than a third of sex crimes against kids under 18 are committed by their peers, be it because of peer pressure, a lack of adult supervision or simply the access to pornographic materials,
More than dozen students in Houston County may be classified as sex offenders in school.

"I'm seeing 15-16 year old guys acting out with 12-13 year old girls. I'm seeing 14-15 year old guys, because of the access to porn, acting out with 5 and 6 year old females," Dr. Tim Faulk, a licensed marriage and family therapist told us.

He went on to say, "If an 18 year old and a 15 year old are dating and have sex and she goes and tells her mom, even though she says it was consensual, he has broken the law and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life."

So we asked parents about juvenile sex offenses…keep in mind, these are non-scientific poll results, but they still show a lack of knowledge across the board that could be leading to big trouble your child's classroom:

Nearly 75% of parents we surveyed said it was okay for a 15 year old to date a 17 year old, no questions asked. Only one parent said they would need to know the child and their family…Only three respondents said it was absolutely wrong…While only three others said either "until the older child turns 18" or cited the age of consent law.

"You have to be 16 to consent and there cannot be greater than a 2 year age difference," Dr. Faulk reminds us.

And dating-related sex offenses are just the tip of iceberg; electronic media and peer pressure are also combining in a dangerous way

"One in five kids between 13 and 19 has either sent or received some type of sexual image and about 39% have participated in sexting, that should wake a lot of parents up," he said.

"It's a growing problem, because what happens is with electronic cell phones, one forward is a violation, taking information from a computer to a cell phone, one friend sends to another it's a violation and they end up in big trouble because they simply don't know to send photos is inappropriate and a violation of law," Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Angela Underwood says.

And that seemingly innocent photo or text could not only brand you as a sex offender, it could also land you here - at Mt. Meigs, the State Department of Youth Services Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility, a facility, we were not allowed into, but have been told is a far cry from comfortable surroundings.

"It scares me immensely. I really dread to see where we'll be as a society in 10 years if we continue at this rate,"says Dr. Faulk.

"Parents need to exercise their authority to be involved. If that means being nosy, do it. They need to know sites their children are surfing, know about sexting, texting, who their child is involved with, know the associations," Angela says.

"There is not a 14, 15, 16 year old guy or gal for that matter, that's going to want their parent so involved in their life and my advise is to get over it - that's what parents are for," says Dr. Faulk.

The silver lining to this story is that the vast majority of these offenders can be rehabilitated without being added to the publically available sex offender database. Those we spoke with say fewer than 5 percent will re-offend if they actively participate in therapy, have parents who are actively involved in their lives and set personal boundaries.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Alice Location: Panama on Jul 8, 2011 at 05:39 AM
    I think adults with their minds in the gutter are making way to much fuss over this. Teens are o'kay with such as this for the most part. Of course there are some parents that go over board about sex being dirty and shameful. It is natural. And should be dicussed open and honestly.Some teens feel that showing a little snap shot of a part their body is not bad. But you may need to tell the teen that the person you are sending this to may be showing it to other people also.And they may even send it to someone eles.And things could get out of hand. You have to talk to your teen and advise them. A good parent child relationship is very important. You need to start talking to your child as soon as they are born. If you just start after they are teenagers, they want respond.
  • by Joshua Myers Location: Samson on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:48 AM
    Thats what happens when you take God out of every aspect of these children's life.
  • by Debbie Location: Dale County on Jul 6, 2011 at 08:33 PM
    The worst part about this is that young girls can use fake ID's and the way they dress, guys cannot tell how old they are. These guys' lives are ruined forever while these girls go unpunished. The law needs to change and punish the girls too, unless sex is forced by either one and there is proof. To many guys are in prison now because of young girls using fake ID's and the girls go unpunished and continue to trap guys. Where is the justice in this?
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